Letter from Dr. Henrietta Mann, CATC President
As the natural, simple, peaceful, compassionate people who were the first to love this land, the people walk with humility and they treasure the great gifts that have come to us from our beloved grandparents, especially their wisdom, knowledge, generosity, love, hope, and vision of a world characterized by cultural integrity upon which the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College is founded.
At creation Tsistsistas and Hinónóéí (Cheyenne and Arapaho people) were given great minds with the ability to think and to learn. Consequently, they have always been visionaries and they made their decisions in terms of their impact upon the current and coming generations. One might characterize these cultures as being children-centered. Tsistsistas and Hinónóéí have always loved their children and have often said that they could see the future just by looking into their faces. They wanted and prayed for many good things for their children and grandchildren, including a good education. Simply stated they wanted their younger generations to be well educated because they believed in the power of the good mind. This was true in the past, and it is just as true today.
As two allied tribes, we not only love our children but we revere our elders, as well. We look to the older generations to pass down their extensive bodies of traditional knowledge to all those who are yet young to this earth. This traditional knowledge was preserved in the minds, spirit, and heart of the people and it is important to remember is that it was passed down in the languages given to them at the beginning of time. Thus, these languages and the Cheyenne and Arapaho bodies of tribal knowledge form the academic core of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College (CATC). It was a historic day when the tribal college held its opening ceremonies on August 25, 2006 as a new tribally-controlled institution of higher education.
CATC exists as a partner of Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) where it is gradually developing and creating its academic infrastructure, which involves designing curriculum and employing staff and faculty to do the tedious work of developing its documents to satisfy the eligibility criteria for membership in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and to gain accreditation of the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is truly a blessing that the tribal college has such an institutional arrangement with SWOSU. It was understood from the beginning that CATC was located temporarily at SWOSU and that it would eventually relocate to its own facilities and campus when they became available. Thus CATC is in the process of developing all that is necessary to be an independent, academically rigorous, two-year degree granting tribal college that can demonstrate financial stability and a secure student enrollment.
We here at CATC are pleased that you have made the choice to enroll as a tribal college student or are contemplating becoming one. As an undergraduate, you have the option to dually enroll both as SWOSU and CATC student. CATC offers both Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal language courses as well as other culture-based courses that can lead to a minor in American Indian Studies or to an Associate of Science Degree. In addition CATC has a new Associate of Science degree in Tribal Administration. Please, come to visit the CATC campus and contemplate your educational options. In doing this, I can think of no better way for you to be accountable to our ancestors, for whom education always has been important. You are the generation now wearing those educational moccasins that must honorably follow in the footsteps of generations upon generations Cheyennes and Arapahos.
Education was their vision for you, just as it is our vision for you today. Tsistsistas and Hinónóéí linguistic and cultural ways are old and they extend far back to creation itself. Such ways are good for you today because they were good for our beloved ancestors. They also will be good for those who, too, will come to live on this beautiful land. CATC is a cultural sanctuary that promotes learning, as well as a place that honors the tribal identities of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Remember that CATC is your tribal college. Explore your possibilities. Come to learn and understand. Develop the potential of your mind. Fulfill your dreams of an education. Vau- da-ma—Welcome! I honor you.
Henrietta Mann, Ph.D.